Show 386, August 15, 2020: Awen Winecraft with Winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood Part One

Tom Homewood and Sean Hopkins of Awen WinecraftAwen Winecraft officially started commercially in 2016 by winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood. They had been producing small lots of hand-crafted hobby wine for over a decade, starting in California focusing primarily on red wines. After many years of honing their winemaking skills producing 4 to 16 Barrels per year, Sean and Tom decided it was time to try to make a business of their passion. Sean moved to Southern Oregon in the summer of 2011 and began experimenting with the Rogue and Applegate AVA grapes, again, exclusively focused on red wines in the region, which offers an abundance of red wine grapes that they previously hadn’t used. They moved on to white wines in 2013, and worked on creating both 100% varietals as well as blends.”

“Sean moved to Southern Oregon in the summer of 2011 and began experimenting with the Rogue and Applegate AVA grapes, again, exclusively focused on red wines in the region, which offers an abundance of red wine grapes that they previously hadn’t used. They moved on to white wines in 2013, and worked on creating both 100% varietals as well as blends.”

“Additionally, Sean and Tom were given the opportunity to manage a small boutique vineyard in 2014, which allowed them to really experience home winemaking ‘grape to glass’.”

“Finally, after commuting up from the Bay Area roughly 30 times for winemaking duties, Tom packed up his family and made Southern Oregon his home in the summer of 2016 to help start Awen Winecraft.”

“Awen” is a celtic/druidic symbol describing the spark of creativity or divine inspiration or illumination.

Proprietors and Winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood gently pull the cork on Awen Winecraft for us.

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Show 386, August 15, 2020: Awen Winecraft with Winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood Part Two

Tom Homewood and Sean Hopkins of Awen WinecraftAwen Winecraft officially started commercially in 2016 by winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood. They had been producing small lots of hand-crafted hobby wine for over a decade, starting in California focusing primarily on red wines. After many years of honing their winemaking skills producing 4 to 16 Barrels per year, Sean and Tom decided it was time to try to make a business of their passion. Sean moved to Southern Oregon in the summer of 2011 and began experimenting with the Rogue and Applegate AVA grapes, again, exclusively focused on red wines in the region, which offers an abundance of red wine grapes that they previously hadn’t used. They moved on to white wines in 2013, and worked on creating both 100% varietals as well as blends.”

“Finally, after commuting up from the Bay Area roughly 30 times for winemaking duties, Tom packed up his family and made Southern Oregon his home in the summer of 2016 to help start Awen Winecraft.”

“Awen” is a celtic/druidic symbol describing the spark of creativity or divine inspiration or illumination.

“Working with Herb Quady, Brian Gruber, and Nichole Schulte at Barrel 42, we are bridging the gap from Hobbyist to professional, and are appreciative of their mentorship. We also appreciate all of the efforts of both the master growers that we work with, as well as the help and feedback we have received from other winemakers.”

Proprietors and Winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood continue the fruit-forward conversation with us about Southern Oregon’s Awen Winecraft. Sean and Tom describe their noteworthy 2018 Albarino with an Applegate Valley AVA and their 2017 Sangiovese from the Rogue Valley.

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Show 384, August 1, 2020: Anchor Valley Wine, Rogue Valley with Partner Ashley Cates

Ashley Cates of Anchor ValleyAlways up for an adventure and full of entrepreneurial spirit, Joe Moxley and Mike Herrera entered into the wine world with the hopes of blazing a new trail, of merging their two business worlds in a way that hadn’t been done before. Their first partnership focused on the rock & roll world and lifestyle, bringing a signature clothing brand to fans of music.

Now, after eleven years partnering together, they’ve broadened their horizons and brought their love of wine to the forefront. The adventure began when the two went wine tasting together in Southern Oregon where they were introduced to acclaimed winemaker, Matthew Cates. It didn’t take long for the trio to form a bond which resulted in the launch of a new limited production, boutique winery they created together named Anchor Valley, based in the Rogue Valley.

Anchor Valley selections include Pinot Rose, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Sirah.

Grapes are all sourced from local vineyards that Winemaker Matthew knows well. The inviting tasting room is in the historic town of Jacksonville, Oregon.

Partner Ashley Cates pulls the cork on Anchor Valley for us.

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Show 376, June 6, 2020: Craig Camp, General Manager & Winegrower, Troon Vineyard, Applegate Valley, Oregon Part One

Craig Camp of Troon VineyardsTroon Vineyard estate wines, from Oregon’s Applegate Valley, are inspired by the wines of the Mediterranean coasts of Southern Europe. Place names like Madiran, Cahors, Bandol, Languedoc and Sardegna have provided the varieties which shine in their vineyards high in the Siskiyou Mountains. The winery is Demeter Biodynamic® and Organic Certified.

“Troon Vineyard is dedicated to regenerative agriculture and we practice Biodynamic® agriculture in our quest to put back more than we take from our plants and soils. We believe the only route to memorable wines, that reflect the terroir of where they were grown, is to be found in the healthy soils and vines that are the foundation of Biodynamic® agriculture. This philosophy continues in the cellar where our winemaking is minimalist and we use only native yeasts with no additives to ferment our wines and eschew the use of new oak barrels to reveal each nuance of wines grown in Oregon’s Applegate Valley.”

General Manager & Winegrower Craig Camp joins us to pull the cork on Troon Vineyard.

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Show 376, June 6, 2020: Craig Camp, General Manager & Winegrower, Troon Vineyard, Applegate Valley, Oregon Part Two

Craig Camp of Troon VineyardsTroon Vineyard estate wines, from Oregon’s Applegate Valley, are inspired by the wines of the Mediterranean coasts of Southern Europe. Place names like Madiran, Cahors, Bandol, Languedoc and Sardegna have provided the varieties which shine in their vineyards high in the Siskiyou Mountains. The winery is Demeter Biodynamic® and Organic Certified.

“Winemaking at Troon is straightforward. Our grapes are field sorted by the same vineyard crew that tended them all season. Our goal is to express our vineyards rather than winemaking techniques in our wines. All Troon Vineyard wines are fermented only with native yeasts and no commercial yeasts, acids, sugar, enzymes or any additives are added to any of the wines. Our white wines are whole-cluster pressed then barrel fermented in mature French Oak barrels. For “Orange Wines” we are now using clay amphorae to allow extended skin contact after fermentation. For red wines we focus on using whole-cluster and whole berry fruit in our fermenters, then use only mature French Oak barrels for ageing so that every nuance of our unique Applegate Valley fruit can express itself it our wines.”

“We are a new entity on a new voyage with a new mission since the arrival of owners Denise and Bryan White. Biodynamics® will reinvigorate our soils and our vines, but it is also reinvigorating us. It is those combined energies that will be expressed in our wines. Wines full of energy are exciting wines and we could not be more excited about making them. Our desire to make special wines from what we know is a vineyard, a terroir, with exceptional potential is what started us on this voyage to begin with.”

General Manager and Winegrower Craig Camp at Troon Vineyard continues the conversation about the Winery.

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Show 361, February 22, 2020: Winemaker & Proprietor Steve Lutz, Lenné Estate, Yamhill, Oregon Part One

Steve Lutz of Lenne EstateLenné Estate grows distinctive Pinot Noir vines in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Owner Steve Lutz began his wine career in Napa Valley, working cellars and managing tasting rooms for the Mondavis and Bill Harlan in the 1980s. He and his English wife Karen moved to Oregon in 1998, and began scouting vineyard sites after Karen inherited some money from her father Lenny, for whom the winery is named. Steve knew instantly when he had found the right site—poor soils and south-facing hillsides at 420-575 feet elevation are ideal for world-class Oregon Pinot Noir—and he planted his first vines in 2001. Six long years later, the vineyard finally achieved a normal fruit set, and Steve opened a tasting room on site.”

“Lutz is fond of boasting that his steep, 20.9-acre hillside vineyard has the poorest soil in Yamhill County—the ancient, nutrient-poor Peavine variety, which limits vine vigor and forces the plants to root deep into the earth and struggle for survival. Thousands have died, but the carnage is worth it; the dry-farmed vines that do survive produce small, naturally concentrated berries that yield distinct mocha aromatics, and rich mid-palate texture. The estate is planted to five clones of Pinot Noir (Pommard, 777, 115, 114, and 667), ranging in age from 13-16 years.”

A pair of Estate Chardonnays (classic in the Oregon style) were added in 2017.

Steve Lutz pulls the cork on Lenne Estate for us.

 

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Show 353, December 28, 2019: Bells Up Winery with Proprietor & Winemaker Dave Specter Part One

Dave Spector of Bells Up WineryMicro-boutique, un-domaine and always open by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara. The Chief Marketing Officer.

“After more than a decade of success as a corporate tax attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dave Specter was emotionally and physically spent. His wife Sara convinced him to leave the profession and they turned the hobby that brought him joy—winemaking—into his new career. The pair had fallen in love with Newberg and the Willamette Valley while on vacation in 2008, subsequently moving here in 2012 and establishing Bells Up in 2013. The first wines were released Memorial Day 2015, coinciding with the opening of the estate winery/tasting room.”

“Every Bells Up wine is named for a piece of classical music that perfectly epitomizes the wine and/or prominently features the French horn, the instrument owner and winemaker Dave Specter played for more than 20 years.”

Winemaker Dave joins us to pull the cork on Bells Up Winery.

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Show 353, December 28, 2019: Bells Up Winery with Proprietor & Winemaker Dave Specter Part Two

Dave Spector of Bells Up WineryMicro-boutique, un-domaine and always open by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara. The Chief Marketing Officer.

“Winemaker and owner Dave Specter and his wife Sara began making kit wine in their basement in 2006 on their five-year wedding anniversary. Dave, a corporate tax attorney, fell in love with winemaking. He left his legal career in 2009 to work as an unpaid cellar rat to award-winning winemaker Joe Henke of Henke Winery in Cincinnati. Joe mentored Dave for three years, during which time Dave enrolled in the Washington State University online enology course, earning a certificate.”

“In 2011, Dave won two amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines in two months; a year later the Specters relocated to Newberg. Dave worked fall 2012 harvest under Bryan Weil, winemaker at Alexana in Dundee, and studied viticulture in 2013 in the Chemeketa Community College program. He also served as a member of the board of the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Association.”

Dave continues the conversation on Bells Up Winery.

Our wine journalist colleague, Cori Solomon, the creator of the LA Wine Writers, was responsible for organizing this trip to the Mt. Hood Territory and Willamette Valley in Oregon. Read her article and tasting notes on visiting Bells Up Winery from her blog, The Written Palette.

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Show 328, June 15, 2019: Irvine & Roberts Vineyards with Doug & Dionne Irvine Part One

Doug and Dionne Irvine of Irvine and Roberts VineyardsAt Irvine & Roberts Vineyards they grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in the distinctive Rogue Valley AVA. The Rogue Valley is the region where the first Oregon vineyard was planted in the 19th Century.

Irvine & Roberts employs site specific, small block plantings that are farmed and fermented individually. This approach underscores their commitment to search wines that best express the unique character of the vineyard.

Principals Doug & Dionne Irvine uncork the details for us.

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Show 328, June 15, 2019: Irvine & Roberts Vineyards with Doug & Dionne Irvine Part Two

Doug and Dionne Irvine of Irvine and Roberts VineyardsAt Irvine & Roberts Vineyards they grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in the distinctive Rogue Valley AVA. The Rogue Valley is the region where the first Oregon vineyard was planted in the 19th Century.

“Irvine & Roberts Family Vineyards is an alluring family winery in Ashland, Oregon, where we practice sustainable farming and produce ultra-premium Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Our high altitude vineyard is adorned with distinctive soils, climate, and east facing slopes that produce wines with extraordinary balance, flavor and intensity. We believe great wines come from great soil, so we strive to be conscientious stewards of the land, protecting our vineyard soils through practices that are certified sustainable by LIVE and Salmon Safe. We admit to being obsessive with our grape growing practices to ensure quality in the vineyard, keeping grape yields low and production limited to ensure the optimal health of the vine; allowing us to produce exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with elegance and balance.”

“In 1997, Doug & Dionne Irvine returned to their roots in Oregon with the desire to raise their daughters in the same place that they had such fond childhood memories. Choosing Ashland, they soon discovered that the 80- acre ranch they would call home turned out to be an incredibly unique vineyard site. The first vines were planted in 2007, and the journey continued from there when Doug’s sister and brother in law, Kelly and Duane Roberts, joined Doug and Dionne and created Irvine and Roberts Vineyards.”

Principals Doug & Dionne Irvine continue the conversation…

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